What Civil Rights Victory?
Can we still call Barack Obama's election a "civil rights victory" if the majority of black voters in California and Florida threw gays and lesbians under the bus?
From my colleague Radley Balko:
In California, the Proposition 8 ban on gay marriage actually failed among white voters, 51-49. It was the 70 percent support from black voters that put the measure over the top.
Florida's ban would have passed among white voters 60-40. But it passed among blacks 71-29....
Kind of a sad irony if in helping achieve one civil rights milestone, last night's historical black turnout also helped perpetuate state-sanctioned discrimination against gay couples who wish to marry.
From Andrew Sullivan:
Yes, it is heart-breaking: it is always hard to be in a tiny minority whose rights and dignity are removed by a majority. It's a brutal rebuke to the state supreme court, and enshrinement in California's constitution that gay couples are now second-class citizens and second class human beings. Massively funded by the Mormon church, a religious majority finally managed to put gay people in the back of the bus in the biggest state of the union. The refusal of Schwarzenegger to really oppose the measure and Obama's luke-warm opposition didn't help. And cruelly, a very hefty black turnout, as feared, was one of the factors that defeated us, according to the exit poll.
Historically, black voters who have overlapping allegiances to fundamentalist Christianity and progressive ideologies don't see voting against sodomites while citing institutional racism as a moral hazard.
But for some reason, I felt liked I'd been kicked in the gut when I saw the exit poll data.